May 25, 2015 Subject:
In the mid 1800s, the American trading ships needed a place to refuel, and despite the fact that Japan had been all but completely closed to any outsiders for over 200 years, Admiral Perry decided that just wouldn't do.
When the two cultures opened to each other, the wild influences flew back and forth in record time. Japan went from being a feudal society to a modern industrialized one in 30 years. And the West's arts, all of them, went through such a major transition that it is still being felt today.
For a while there, and also continuing, of course, was the bounce-effect. The outlines and simplified shapes of the Japanese prints which flooded the Europe and the US, became, in the hands of the French, for example, Art Nouveau. And since the trade back and forth between the ends of the earth were vigorous, the work coming out of Japan started having a more Art Nouveau feel as well. Via the Internet Archive, kimono fabrics from Japan, from 1884.